Tusk came as an American independent body horror comedy movie in 2014. Written and directed by Kevin Smith, it is apparently based on a story from his SModcast podcast. The film is the first in Smith’s planned True North trilogy, followed by Yoga Hosers.
Tusk tells the story of an arrogant podcaster who travels to Canada for an interview and meets an eccentric retired sailor with dark plans related to an obsession with a walrus called Mr. Tusk. The movie had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival before finally hitting the theatres on the 19th of September, 2014, by A24. It received mixed reviews. With much accolades given to the production values and atmosphere, the critics dissed it for its inconsistent tone.
Here’s everything about Tusk, including its plot, star cast, and sequel in the pipeline.
The Interesting Origin Story of the Movie
The origin story of Tusk is worth mentioning.
On a 2013 episode of his long-running podcast, Smith and his co-host Scott Mosier came across a real-life British want ad from a man seeking a roommate. The ad described a weird scenario where the lodger was allowed to stay rent-free with the man, provided he would dress and behave like a walrus. The man who posted the ad recalled a wonderful time in his past when he bonded with a real-life walrus and wanted to recreate the feeling with the lodger.
Smith and Mosier spent 60 minutes discussing the veracity of the ad in detail, which put them in splits. They also discussed how it would be if they imagine a walrus-like scenario in a feature film. The conversation enamored the duo to the extent that by the end of the podcast, Smith decided to make a movie on the subject.
Enter a Twitter hashtag campaign.
The duo released a campaign wherein the listeners could vote on whether or not they should execute the idea of making a movie on a walrus. The ones in favor could vote #WalrusYes, and the ones against it could vote #WalrusNo. The former won the voting with flying colors. It is how Tusk, the movie happened.
But there is a twist!
It was later revealed that the ad in question was not reality at all, but a joke post put out by a notorious Brighton prankster named Chris Parkinson. However, the reality didn’t matter to Smith. He made the film more in line with The Human Centipede, and it received mixed reactions. Some even called Tusk one of the worst movies of the year.
In the end, it created buzz and established itself as a movie with a unique plot.
What is the Cast of Tusk?
The cast of Tusk includes the following stars:
- Michael Parks as Howard Howe
- Matthew Shively as young Howard Howe
- Justin Long as Wallace Bryton
- Genesis Rodriguez as Ally Leon
- Haley Joel Osment as Teddy Craft
- Johnny Depp as Guy LaPointe.
Besides this, Tusk includes additional cast members.
- Harley Morenstein as a border agent
- Ralph Garman as a detective
- Harvey Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp as Smith and Depp’s daughters
- Jennifer Schwalbach Smith as Smith’s wife
- Doug Banks as Kill Bill kid
- Zak Knutson has an uncredited appearance as Ernst Hemingway.
What is the Plot of Tusk?
In the movie, two best friends run a podcast, and one of them travels to Canada to interview an internet celebrity and finds out that the person has committed suicide. He decides to interview a retired seaman who narrates a story about being rescued by a walrus named Mr. Tusk after a shipwreck. But the seaman drugs and mutilates the friend, turning him into a walrus by fitting him into a walrus costume composed of human skin, complete with tusks made from his bones.
The friend’s girlfriend and the other friend fly to Canada to save him with the help of a former inspector. They find him in the seaman’s home, fighting the seaman who dies impaled on the tusks. The movie ends with the friend living in a wildlife sanctuary as a walrus, and his girlfriend and friend visit him, showing him love and affection.
The film goes into a flashback where the girlfriend tells him that crying separates humans from animals, and the friend sheds tears, inkling that he still has some of his humanity left.
Tusk 2 is Happening
Good news! Tusk 2 has been confirmed by Kevin Smith. He spoke about the movie on the latest episode of the FatMan Beyond podcast, Smith revealed he has ‘more story to tell’ and is planning something for the movie’s 10th anniversary, which falls in 2024.
“Ever since the heart attack, I have been living on borrowed time. 2024 will mark the 10-year anniversary of Tusk…We could leave it there and move on, but you know, I have got more story left I would like to tell, there is a reason we left him in the zoo at the end. I always knew as we were making the movie I was just like, “I will totally do this again.” I thought we would have the late great Michael Parks with us longer, but, sadly he is not, but I know we got Justin (Long).”
He went on by teasing certain plot details for the upcoming Tusk movie, revealing that the sequel will find Justin Long’s transformed podcaster, Wallace Bryton, leaving the walrus suit. He even compared the evolution of the character to Batman villain Two-Face.
“Early on, I was always like, Well, eventually they will take them out of that walrus skin and try to rehabilitate them. And just like Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight Returns, he will only ever see himself one way. Then he becomes Howard Howe, and Justin Long becomes the crazy guy who’s trying to turn people into something else, Chimera things, half-human, and half-whatever. Last time it was walrus, this time….you will see.”
What will be the Horror Sequel Called?
Kevin Smith even shared the title of the movie’s sequel. In the same interview, he referred to a famous moment during the making of Aliens. The sequel will only have a dollar sign added to the original movie title.
“I would be stupid not to make what I am calling Tusk$. And yes, just like when Jim Cameron pitched Aliens, the ‘S’ in Tusks has a dollar sign through it, kids. It has everything to do with the plot of the story, but it’s also just me nakedly communicating my ambition that I am going to correct the past. If you live long enough, sometimes you do shit just to be like…I don’t think we were wrong, I think we were early.”
The director has been long considering Tusk’s sequel with actor Justin Long, who is expected to return. He even hinted towards his return.
“You will be happy to hear, Kevin Smith just announ – I mean, I guess they are talking about it. They are doing Tusk 2 I think…He texted us all the other day, Haley and Genesis, and he told us that he wanted to do it. And I thought it was a joke. And then I realized he was being serious. And then one of the other.”
Little known facts about Tusk
- Kevin Smith was so fascinated by Tusk’s premise that he wanted to make it right after he heard about that fake ad. He didn’t even care if it was successful or not. The film lost a lot of money at the box office.
- According to Smith, Tusk is a cuddly version of the movie The Human Centipede. The synopsis of The Human Centipede reads:
“Two pretty but ditsy American girls are on a road trip through Europe. In Germany, they end up alone at night, and when their car breaks down, they take shelter in an isolated villa. They wake in the morning to find themselves in a makeshift hospital, along with a Japanese man. Here, they meet a psychotic German surgeon whose life-long fantasy is to connect humans together via gastric systems.”
- Tusk is the first movie in a trilogy of movies that Smith would base in Canada. In 2016, he released another one – Yoga Hosers, and in 2022, he released Moose Jaws.
- Believe it or not, but the cast shot Tusk in 15 days.
- Throughout the movie, you will spot Justin Long drooling after his transformation into a walrus. It was not just the result of the heavy prosthetic makeup that he had to go through while shooting, but because he had to hold his tongue back to maintain the continuity with the plot elements that Howard had cut out his tongue.
- Johnny Depp wasn’t the first choice to play Guy LaPointe. The role was first offered to Quentin Tarantino. He turned it down although he liked the script. The director later stated that Tarantino had mistakenly thought he was being offered the role of the walrus.
- In the movie, Wallace’s ringtone is a fan-made composition from Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman’s podcast based on Garman’s Al Pacino impression.
- As the final credits of the film roll, you can hear a snippet from Smith’s SModcast, where he talks about the movie’s third act.